Earlier this month, the Over The Edge team was given the opportunity to travel to Toronto to participate in NASH 80, a student journalism conference involving student newspaper groups from across Canada. Our Editor in Chief Sam Wall, Production Coordinator Monique Gendron, Advertising Coordinator Alexandra Tuttosi, and myself had the amazing privilege to attend this year’s event. After a long, late-night-and-sweaty airplane experience followed by the longest cab ride I have ever endured, we arrived at the conference hotel in Toronto.
The same evening we arrived in Toronto, Lee Maracle, a Coast Salish author as well as an instructor at the University of Toronto, gave acknowledgement to the conference being held in A Dish with One Spoon Territory and spoke of her own journalistic experiences during the Opening Ceremonies. Keynote speakers throughout the conference included Ginella Massa, the first news anchor in Canada to wear a hijab on broadcast news; Robyn Doolittle, the journalist responsible for “Unfounded,” the investigation into Canadian police forces and their investigation methods concerning sexual assaults; and Desmond Cole, who gave a moving speech about the portrayal of race and accountability in the media.
NASH attendees were treated to seminars presented on a number of topics. I heard an impassioned speech, given by human rights journalist Zein Almoghraby, about avoiding one’s hero complex when reporting on war-torn countries. The fact that only 1.05% of Canadian media featured Indigenous people or topics was the subject of another informative panel by Hannah Clifford (of Journalists for Human Rights) and Lenny Carpenter (with JHR’s Indigenous Reporters Program). I listened to two members of the Beaverton writing team, Emma Overton and Alex Huntley, explain their wit and mission to a crowded, eager room. I watched the presentation given by Willow Fiddler (Oji-Cree, Anishinaabe reporter with APTN), transfixed as she told of past and recent tragedies experienced by fly-in communities surrounding Thunder Bay, and explained the importance of reporting on local communities. Nick Hune-Brown shared the story of his own beginnings, working up the ladder from being a young graduate camping in his parents’ living room to becoming an award-winning feature writer; he expressed not only a deep dedication to each story he writes but an unconditional desire to be fair to the people portrayed in his stories. An inspiring speech by Shireen Ahmed, about the difficulties she has faced as a Muslim woman reporting on sports, helped open my eyes to the multiple barriers that continue to exist within the media. Rachel Nixon shared the innovative ideas behind Discourse Media, an organization that seeks to collaborate rather than compete with other journalists to share important information with its audience.
Many, many other talks given at the event by a plethora of people who work in all areas of the media provided listeners in attendance with advice on landing that first job, how to avoid lawsuits when uncovering breaking stories, how to start your own podcast, photography tips and ethics, what to avoid when signing contracts with potential employers, and other informative segments.
NASH 80 sent me home with a brain bursting with information and possibilities. I fully encourage anyone with an interest in journalism, television, and all areas of writing to join us here at Over The Edge and take part in future opportunities such as NASH.